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State v. Mason

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 23, 2019


          Session: May 29, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Cocke County No. 6500 James L. Gass, Judge

         The Defendant, Charles E. Mason, Jr., pled guilty to four counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated stalking charged in three separate indictments and received an aggregate sentence of twenty years to be served on probation. The trial court found the Defendant in violation of his probation for three convictions of aggravated assault and for aggravated stalking and ordered him to serve these sentences in confinement. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and that the trial court erred by not including graduated sanctions under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-28-304 when it reinstated his probation approximately six months prior to the instant violation. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in revoking the Defendant's probation and that the issue regarding graduated sanctions has been waived. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Randall E. Reagan (on appeal) and Troy L. Bowlin, II (at hearing), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles E. Mason, Jr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Jimmy B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and William Brownlow Marsh and Charles L. Murphy, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.




         The procedural history of this case is somewhat convoluted, and we rely on the record on appeal and on two prior appeals before this court in summarizing the facts related to the issues before us. See State v. Charles Edward Mason, Jr., No. E2017-01050-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 14, 2017) (order granting motion for voluntary dismissal of probation revocation appeal); State v. Charles Edward Mason, Jr., No. E2015-01936-CCA-R8-CO (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 6, 2016) (order affirming denial of bond); see also State v. Lawson, 291 S.W.3d 864, 869 (Tenn. 2009) (a court may take judicial notice of an earlier proceeding in the same case); Tenn. R. Evid. 201(b), (c).

         On June 29, 2015, the Defendant was indicted in case number 6500 for three counts of attempted first degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, and one count of reckless endangerment committed against three victims on or about March 22, 2015. The factual basis for these charges was that the three victims drove a vehicle onto the Defendant's property and the Defendant fired shots, wounding two of the victims. The Defendant was released on bond.

         On September 9, 2015, the Defendant was arrested for new offenses arising out of the Defendant's belief that Mr. Pat Proffitt or his son, Mr. Jessie Proffitt, had injured the Defendant's dog by pouring bleach or gasoline in the dog's ears. The Defendant began a campaign of telephone harassment against sixty-six-year-old Mr. Pat Proffitt, repeatedly threatening to kill him, his wife, and other members of his family. Mr. Pat Proffitt's son Mr. Benjamin Proffitt attempted to intervene and agreed to meet the Defendant at the Defendant's home to end the conflict with a physical fight. When Mr. Benjamin Proffitt arrived at the end of the driveway, the Defendant fired a gun at him from approximately 130 yards away. The Defendant was ultimately charged with aggravated assault against Mr. Benjamin Proffitt in case number 6893 and with harassment and aggravated stalking of Mr. Pat Proffitt in case number 6894. While in custody awaiting further proceedings, the Defendant was beaten by fellow inmates and suffered severe injuries, including subdural hematoma. See State v. Charles Edward Mason, Jr., No. E2015-01936-CCA-R8-CO (order).

         At a hearing to revoke the Defendant's bond held on September 24, 2015, the State presented testimony that the Defendant was attempting to purchase weapons while making threats against the lives of individuals at the prosecutor's office, and the State introduced an audio recording of the Defendant threatening the victim-witness coordinator, the District Attorney General, and the Assistant District Attorney General over the telephone. See id.

         The Defendant entered guilty pleas on February 26, 2016, to three counts of aggravated assault in case number 6500, one count of aggravated assault in case number 6893, and one count of aggravated stalking in case number 6894. The remaining counts charging attempted first degree murder, reckless endangerment, and harassment were dismissed. The Defendant agreed to plead guilty as a Range II offender, with an agreed sentence of ten years for each aggravated assault conviction and two years for the aggravated stalking conviction. The sentences stemming from the three aggravated assaults in case 6500 were to run concurrently with one another, and the sentences stemming from the offenses committed while on bond were to run concurrently with one another, for an effective sentence of twenty years, with credit for time served and the remainder to be served on supervised probation.

         On November 7, 2016, a warrant was issued against the Defendant for violation of his probation after a search conducted at his residence revealed ammunition, an improperly charged ankle monitor, an absent transdermal patch, and drugs, including methamphetamine. On April 21, 2017, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation and ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. This order was the subject of an appeal which was subsequently voluntarily dismissed.

         According to defense counsel's argument at the 2018 revocation hearing, the Defendant subsequently sought relief in the trial court based on the allegation that the evidence used to support the revocation should have been suppressed. On January 18, 2018, the trial court entered an order granting a writ of error coram nobis and ordering the Defendant's immediate release to supervised probation. The order provided that it would "replace[] any previous Orders regarding [the Defendant's] conditions of probation as well as previous judgments regarding a Violation of Probation warrant issued and executed on November ...

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